After enjoying the nature and curling in Tokoro, the northern part of Kitami facing the Sea of Okhotsk, experience making aroma cream using mint essential oil in the city. Eat yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) and then head to Rubeshibe, the mountainous area located on the west side of Kitami. Visit an aquarium to see creatures of the river and relieve the fatigue of your trip at Onneyu Onsen.
Kitami Town Course
Enjoy the unique gourmet cuisine and hot springs in a city of peppermint and curling, Kitami!
Kitami City Commerce and Tourism Dpt. Tourism Promotion Division Erika Higashide
The attractiveness of Kitami that a local navigator talks about
Kitami is known as a city of mint and curling, and in recent years it has been attracting attention as a town of yakiniku, Japanese style barbecue. It is the central city of Okhotsk and a municipality which has the largest area in Hokkaido. Each region in this municipality has its unique attractions. The center of Kitami is well-known for herbs and mint. Rubeshibe is popular for Onneyu Onsen and Yama no Aquarium. Tokoro, located alont the Sea of Okhotsk, is a sacred place for curling. This video shows you all the attractions of Kitami.
An overnight town course in Kitami
Take a walk in Wakka Primeval Flower Garden while bathing in the morning sun, and head to Kitami to experience curling. Visit Kitami Mint Memorial Museum and eat the local’s favorite, yakiniku (Japanese BBQ.) Have some dessert made from white beans, and finish up the night at Onneyu Onsen. Go shopping for souvenirs at michi no eki (rest stop) the next day.
▼ About 11 mins by car ▼
▼ About 52 mins by car ▼
▼ About 3 mins by car ▼
▼ About 43 mins by car ▼
▼ A short drive ▼
▼ A short drive ▼
▼ About 5 mins by car ▼
The videos are in Japanese only.
1. Wakka Primeval Flower Garden
Walk through a large group of beach plants with more than 300 species in bloom
A primeval flower garden consisting of a long sandbar and wetlands between the Sea of Okhotsk and Lake Saroma. Located in Abashiri Quasi National Park, it was designated as a Hokkaido inheritance. There is a 4-km (2.5-ml) one way promenade where you can ride through by bicycle. Bike rental is available at Wakka Nature Center located at the entrance of this garden. Various pretty flowers such as Yezo corydalis decumbens and Yezo thunbeng lily bloom from late April to around September. It is also a good spot to observe wild birds.
Address: Sakaeura Tokoro-cho, Kitami
▼ About 11 mins by car ▼
2. Advics Tokoro Curling Hall
Debut on ice in the sacred place of curling! Have fun curling.
Japan’s largest curling facility located in Tokoro. It is available for both athletes and general public. There is an exprience program and rental service of equipment (for a fee.) After taking a lecture of the instructor about the basics and tips, get on the rink. The programs are “Casual Course” (1 hour), “Introductory Course” (2 hours), and “Full-scale Experience Course” (3 hours.) Note: reservation required.
Address: 2-2 Tokoro-cho, Kitami
▼ About 52 mins by car ▼
3. Kitami Mint Memorial Museum & Distillery
Learn the history of mint and make aroma cream of mint essential oil
Kitami Mint Memorial Museum is a historical museum where you can learn about the history of Kitami mint, which once produced 70% of the world market share. Specimens of machines and dried mint used in the factory are on display. In the distillery located next to this museum, you can observe a demonstration of mint distillation and make aroma cream using Japanese mint. This workshop takes about half an hour and the fee is 1,000 JPY. Add your favorite aroma oil and make your own special cream.
Address: 7-28 1-chome Minaminaka-machi, Kitami
Feel refreshed! Get Kitami’s mint products for souvenirs.
Kitami’s mint products are sold at the Distillery. There are various types of suitable items for souvenirs such as daily necessities, sweets, and cosmetics. The most famous is the natural peppermint oil extracted by distillation. It can repelle bugs by apply it on a mask or clothes. It can also be used for adding mint flavor to sweets. This place has a variety of products to allow you to take in the refreshing scent of mint on a daily basis such as candy, biscuits, hand cream, soap, hand towels, toothpicks, wet wipes, and more.
▼ About 3 mins by car ▼
4. Mikakuen Sohonten Brunch
Yakiniku barbecue in a retro atmosphere. The offal and beef hanging tender are excellent!
A long-established yakiniku barbecue restaurant in Kitami loved by a wide range of generations, from locals to tourists. The freshness of the meat made in Hokkaido is outstanding because it is shipped from the directly managed factory every day. The most recommended is offal whose freshness is thoroughly controled. Raw offal produced in Hokkaido is dipped in ice water to bring out sweetness and tighten. Do not forget to order Kitami’s fresh onions. Have a great yakiniku in this old-fashioned and cozy place.
Address: Social Bld. 6F Kita-5 Nishi-4, Kitami
“Mid-winter Barbeque Festival” in the extreme cold of -10 ℃
Mid-winter Barbecue Festival is held outdoors in the coldest time of early February. It is a popular event in Kitami where many people from all over the country participate. Purchase an admission ticket for 2,000 JPY in advance. On the day of the event, get pork offal, beef hanging tender, pork butt loin, and Kitami onions in exchange for the admission ticket at the reception. Barbecur grill is of course shichirin, a small charcoal grill. Separate the meat piece by piece because they get frozen and stick to each other. The meat tastes great in the smoke of Shichirin and the frigid cold. Get more meat for extra fee if needed. The temperature at the venue often falls below -10 degrees Celcius (14 degrees Farenheit), so it is essential to take measures against the cold throughout the body. There are plenty of events that will liven up the venue, so why not come?
▼ About 43 mins by car ▼
5. Yama no Aquarium
Visit a popular aquarium which exhibits creatures living in the rivers of Hokkaido in a unique way
This aquarium mainly exhibits freshwater fish livin in Hokkaido. Japan’s first “waterfall tank”, reproducing a big waterfall, is dynamic and spectacular. “Tank of Four Seasons”, designed to reproduce the changing seasons of Hokkaido, lets you see freshwater fish swimming under the ice when the surface gets frozen. It is popular among not only children but also adults because it lets you learn how freshwater fish live, which you cannot usually see.
Address: 1-4 Matsuyama Rubeshibe-cho, Kitami
▼ A short drive ▼
6. Fujiya Kashiho
Select dessert made from Rubeshibe’s specialty, Shirohana Beans, for souvenirs
Rubeshibe in Kitami has Japan’s highest production of white beans called Shirohana Beans. Both Japanese and Western sweets using white beans can be purchased at this long-established confectionery shop. The most popular dessert, “Shirohana Bean Mousse”, is fluffy, not too sweet, and brings you a slight flavor of Shirohana Bean. Other sweets made from Shirohana Bean including cake and pie are also popular.
Address: 194 Onneyu Onsen Rubeshibe-cho, Kitami
▼ A short drive ▼
7. Oe Honke
Relieve the fatigue of the day at a hot spring hotel with a history of over 100 year
A long-established hotel located in Onneyu Onsen in Rubeshibe. The amount of hot water is abundant, and it is an alkaline simple spring. The feature is its 100 % fresh hot spring water without adding water, circulating or filtering. It is well-known as one of the best spring quality in Japan. Relieve the fatigue of your trip by soaking in this high quality hot spring which has anti-aging and skin-beautifying effects. The large jacuzzi and open-air bath are popular. This hot spring facility is also available for day-trip visitors.
Address: 466-1 Onneyu Onsen Rubeshibe-cho, Kitami
▼ 車で約5分 ▼
8. Michi no Eki Onneyu Onsen
Find souvenirs at the Michi no Eki in Onneyu Onsen
A rest stop called michi no eki located along the National Highway 39. The landmark Kamurin, a cuckoo clock tower, is 20 m (66 ft) high, and cute fairies and pigeons tell the time every hour. There are shops selling Rubeshibe’s special products and folk crafts, and a craft experience workshop where you can experience woodworking. It is recommended to visit Yama no Aquarium located On the premises.
Address: 1-4 Matsuyama Rubeshibe-cho, Kitami
More must-see spots in Kitami
Tokoro Shrine
This shrine became famous because the members of the national curling team, who played at the Winter Olympics, visited to pray for a victory. The curling stone-shaped Ema (a wooden tablet to write down a prayer) is popular.
Address: 63 Aza Tokoro, Tokoro-cho, Kitami
Pierson Memorial Museum
The oldest Western-style building in Kitami, the house in which the missionary Pearson and his wife used to live. It was built in 1918 and restored by Kitami City in 1970.
Address: 4-28 Saiwai-cho 7-chome, Kitami
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